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Grand Isle Consolidation To Be Discussed At Budget Meeting

Supervisory Union To Discuss Setting Aside Budget for Study

It's been a push on the state level for awhile now to have districts consider consolidating. One area that always seems to come up is Grand Isle County, VT.

Is it worth looking into now?

When it comes to consolidation, some say class size is key. Bryan Pigott from South Hero, VT said, "I think it'd be a good idea, especially because it prepares you more for going to the bigger schools in high school. Some of the schools up here are really small."

But for those who come from those small schools, they wouldn't want it any other way.

"First through sixth grade in a two room school house, and I just think that island kids get a better experience being in those smaller classroom settings,” said Ashley Brisson, who went to elementary school in Isle La Motte.

The Grand Isle Supervisory Union covers 5 towns: Grand Isle, Alburgh, South Hero, North Hero and Isle La Motte. Enrollment totals only a few hundred K-8 students. High schoolers go to school off the island.

Merging those small schools isn't in the near future, but the Supervisory Union will decide whether to set aside money to look into it. A budget meeting is on January 8th.

"Study results could range everything from basically recommending no changes through up to recommending a full consolidation. I expect we'll probably end up somewhere in between,” said Michael Inners, Grand Isle Supervisory Union Board Member.

The study would cost about $20,000, That money would be reimbursed by a state grant.

To move forward with a study, a majority of the 5 school boards would have to approve it.

“We think we should take a look at the options. It's important that we take a look and see what the options are and give people an informed choice,” said Inners.

Now, a few school boards we spoke with on Tuesday are in favor of a study. One board member called it a “no-brainer.” But at least one, the Alburgh Board, says it is very much against consolidation.

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